Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only Β£10 πŸ™‚

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

Dinner jacket 4

Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

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Domesticity and friendship

I have so far managed to have a lovely weekend with lots of both of these things. As I mentioned last post I now have every weekend to myself and that has meant time to catch up with lovely people and the energy to do more than just everyday cooking.

We had a lovely bauble making evening, everyone opted for the style where you cut into the bauble and insert sections of fabric. Rosemari was on a roll and made three in the end and we are continuing with this next weekend at Sharon’s house so may well make more.

Nov baubles 1

She brought her own fabric with her as her house is decorated in lots of blues and aquas so she wanted her baubles to go with that. I think they are gorgeous and love the way she has fussy cut the bird here.

Nov baubles 2

I just made one as I was busy instructing and sorting food . I later added some little jewels to each side, this will be a new addition to my tree for this year along with one of Jenny’s stockings, I am getting on well with the second batch.

Saturday morning my wonderful friend Kerry came up, I have not seen her since Caldicot so it was brilliant to have a catch up and eat nice food.I made my favourite pumpkin soup from Delia Smith’s recipe and an amazing focaccia bread with rosemary and thinly sliced potatoes. It was so good I am going to make more today!

We also went for a walk, the first bit of leisure walking I have done since August.Thankfully I feel a lot better and really miss my little walks around the village so it was great to get out and enjoy the autumn views and say hello to a few sheep.

Nov sheep 1

Even though this picture has focused more on the fence in the foreground rather than the sheep I still love it as it shows the misty sunlight, I am so lucky to have all this beauty five minutes from home.

Nov walk 1

Nov walk 2

Nov walk 3

I am going to the Remembrance Sunday service later on today, there is a special service in honour of the fact that it is 100 years since Armistice. The village, like many other places has been decorated with poppies and they have the names on them of everyone who was killed in the Great War.

This amazing installation at the Tower of London commemorates the 888,246 British and colonial lives lost during this war but we also remember the lives lost from many other countries of men, women and children from all wars.

Poppies

Much of what we do as re-enactors may be seen as promoting or glorifying conflict but I have always seen our roles as more about education about the history of war in the hope that this understanding will help avoid future conflict. Next year Ellie will be involved in lots of events around the Second World War as Clumber Park was involved in that in many different ways so she and her team are planning lots of things to commemorate their involvement.

I hope that you have a very lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Pattern hacking and pattern making

Things are progressing slowly with the Steampunk jacket but I am pleased with it all so far. I cut out the velvet without too much trauma or the house being covered in black velvet dust! I have just trimmed all of the pieces as usual I cut them much bigger and then had a garment for at least one and a half of me!

I should really have made a toile but I am short on time, one day I will get around to making a body form from a mannequin base as that would be really useful for fitting patterns onto before cutting.

I have hacked the pattern slightly and plan to do more hacking, in the initial stages what I did was lengthen the jacket as I want it to come to just about hip height. I will possibly not have it quite this long as I have added eight inches but it is easier to shorten than to lengthen!

Steampunk velvet jacket 1

Steampunk velvet jacket 2

I also want to attach the bustle to the jacket. It is not very obvious in the picture below but the bustle is tied around the waist under the jacket. I have already modified this and only cut two layers of ruffles due to not having enough fabric but I think that will be fine with the longer jacket. It may all go horribly wrong but I like experimenting.

McCalls Pattern 1

The Love to Sew Podcast had a great episode on pattern hacks and they have loads of ideas for adapting things from existing patterns.It was from there I got the idea of adding the tracing paper to the existing pattern pieces which makes it a lot easier to adjust.

Steampunk velvet jacket 3

My plan for this afternoon is to zig zag all of the pieces to stop it fraying and maybe even start the construction. It looks a fairly simple design, famous last words, but the initial fit piece went well together, I do have collar and buttonholes to look forward to though!

My very talented daughter Ellen has just finished her amazing piece for the Refashioners 2018 project. This year the theme was, ‘inspired by’, so she chose this gown by the House of Worth which is dated 1898 and is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Ellen - Worth dress 5

 

She tuned a pair of velvet curtains into this and did all of the pattern making herself, she is such a talented seamstress and so confident with design, these are pictures from her Facebook page and she has some pictures of the process on her Instagram here.Β 

Ellen - Worth dress 1

Ellen - Worth dress 2

Ellen - Worth dress 3

Ellen - Worth dress 4

I don’t know where she took the first two photos but I think she looks amazing and I am so proud of her πŸ™‚ You can see lots of other refashioning at this Instagram page here

I do love all this creativity, long may it continue. I am also working hard on the second set of stockings, I am doing another five and am about half way through these, such relaxing stitching while watching Netflix, bliss.

I did my last Saturday teaching yesterday, no more until Feb so I get the whole weekend from now on to do what I like, what a lovely feeling πŸ™‚

I hope that you have had a great weekend and have a good week ahead. We have a Wool and Wine bauble making evening here on Friday so I will get some pictures of the Christmas gorgeousness for you all.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Ta da!

I have had a lovely week of stitching and am very pleased that I have already finished the first set of stockings.They are so pretty and have turned out even better than expected.

 

Jenny Xmas stocking 6

The designs are from the wonderful Jenny of Elefantz Stitchery Club and I followed her advice to back the fabric with interfacing which worked really well without a hoop.

 

Jenny Xmas stocking 7

Jenny Xmas stocking 8

Jenny Xmas stocking 9

I am so pleased with the stitching on these, especially the blanket stitch which I only learnt how to do this summer and though I say so myself has come out very neat πŸ™‚ Now they just need to be cut out, backed and stuffed.

Apologies for the slightly blue pictures again, I even tried taking shots outside but even that did not make any difference.I did get a nice shot of the frosty hills behind the house though.Look at that lovely blue sky!

Frosty hills

I have been working almost solely on this project while watching lots of interesting things on Netflix, a very good murder mystery called Guilt and a competition program about cabins in the wild that has given me lots of ideas for future holidays as they feature lots of cabins from one of my favourite site Canopy and Stars!

Wouldn’t you love to stay in this tin tabernacle, or the very cute gardener’s hut or the geodome.

Canopy and Stars tin hut

Canopy and Stars gardener's shed

Canopy and Stars geodome

They have so many wonderful places on here that I am putting on my wish list for future trips. All pictures from their site.I am slightly addicted to watching tiny house videos on You Tube so this would satisfy some of my cravings to have my own tiny house.

Meanwhile we have booked mine and Mum’s city trip for next year, we will be going to Krakow in Poland in April. We were hoping to be able to get to Istanbul but flights and times were not good from here so we are now really looking forward to our first visit to Poland and to sights like this.

Krakow

We have not yet sorted a Spanish city trip but that will probably be done in June. Meanwhile back to reality and I have another set of stockings to prepare today.These have been so quick to do I think I may make more than six as I would like one as well.

Have a nice week ahead, hopefully on my next post I will have some good progress on the Steampunk jacket to report, so far all I have done is cut out pattern pieces, which took about 2 hours, and work out how much material I have, and discover I have not got enough interfacing or lining so I will have to buy those before I can progress much further.

My plan is to have at least the pieces cut out and possibly the bustle made before the end of the week. The jacket part is going to take more fitting so I have allowed a month for that as the event is on the 24th Nov and I know from past experience that it can take a while!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Finally, a Bee in my Bonnet Block!

I was visiting Lori’s gorgeous Bee in my Bonnet blog last week for my usual update on her lovely designs when I spotted a block in her sidebar from her Bloom quilt which she designed a few years ago. Lori very kindly keeps all of the tutorials on her blog so you can go back to them at any time.This is a beautiful quilt and one of my favourites of her designs.Picture from Lori’s blog.

Bloom quilt

I have not made any of her quilt blocks yet, partly as I don’t have the templates but then realised that I did have the shapes in my freebie set to make this block, and probably others.Picture is from Lori’s blog.

Bloom Block fifteen

Bloom block 1

I decided to make two flowers from Liberty as I thought the petals would look good in different fabrics and rather than make blocks to applique them straight onto the background fabric.

Bloom block 2

Lori uses a really good technique which is very clearly explained in all of her tutorials where you cut interfacing and the shape, sew them together and then turn inside out. You then glue them down onto the backing fabric and hand stitch. This gives a really nice raised look to the applique and is a lot better for getting neat shapes.

Bloom block 3

When I was machine stitching I used my clear foot which makes it a lot easier to see your lines of stitching.

Bloom block 4

The background fabric is linen from an old curtain that I must have had for at least 20 years, I only have a little bit left as I have used it for lots of pouches and baskets. I love using up old bits of fabric, makes me feel very thrifty!

Bloom block 5

Bloom block 6

I have made the stem a little smaller so that it can all fit on and my middle circle is smaller as well to show more of the Liberty. I am really pleased with how they have turned out and the hand stitching has been very nice and relaxing in the evenings.

I do like this time of year when I can light the candles, watch Netflix and stay in cosy in my house, as I was stitching these the rain was lashing down outside but I was nice and warm. I had new windows and doors fitted in my little house this summer so it is a lot warmer now, which will be very useful if we have another winter like last year!

I am halfway through making these into pouches for my Christmas present stock. I have at least another 4 pouches and a basket to make up as well so that will be my machine stitching for the next week and the Jenny stockings my hand stitching.

I have some time off next week πŸ™‚ so will be pattern fitting and cutting out the black velvet for my next Steampunk jacket, wish me luck! I don’t really enjoy sewing with velvet, it is so slippery but I was gifted a large amount of the material so I am being thrifty and using that rather than but new.

I will post progress photos later next week, Have a good week whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

A wonderful work in progress!

As you know I have been eagerly awaiting the latest of Jenny’s Stitchery Club.Β I love stitching things for Christmas and was trying to decide what to make for the special set of 6 this year and then Jenny solved all of my problems with this lovely set of designs, picture from Jenny’s website.

elefantz-xmas-stockings-picture

I am altering the designs slightly as I am using all Christmas fabric so am also going to use some star sequins in place of some of the flower stitching. I am going to have so much fun embellishing them with little beads and lace as well so am really looking forward to spending more time this afternoon stitching these.I have done most of the outlines, now to start on the chain stitch around the applique and try and make it as neat as possible!

I prepared the designs in a slightly different way to usual as I wanted to use this lovely background fabric and I only have two quite small pieces of it. Normally I would use a hoop while I stitch but remembered that Jenny uses a fusible interfacing to stabilise the fabric and stitches without a hoop so I have done that and it is working well and saves on fabric needed.

Jenny Xmas stocking 1

I traced the designs in pencil rather than the usual Zig pen just because I was upstairs and didn’t have them with me.It has worked ok but may be a bit faint for you to see.

Jenny Xmas stocking 2

The applique pieces are attached with double sided fusible applique paper, there is a good tutorial on this technique on Jenny’s website here if you have not done this before.

Jenny Xmas stocking 3

Jenny Xmas stocking 4

I love this poinsettia design on this stocking, they are one of my favourite things to have in the house at Christmas.

I am so glad that Jenny included hexagons with the designs as I really love hexagons! As these ornaments will not need to be washed I have glued the paper piece inside each hexagon so that it will be nice and neat around the fussy cut area.

Jenny Xmas stocking 5

I am going to back each stocking with some of the same material that I have used for the front and stuff them and put hanging ribbons on.My plan is to do these three then start on the next batch and use different material but basically the same designs.

I think they are gorgeous designs and as well as using them for Christmas they would make lovely lavender sachets for drawers or a very pretty design for a stitched birthday card so I can see myself making lots more of these.

I have had a very lovely week, it has been mostly beautiful sunshine here and the autumn colours are just stunning. These pictures are from our local Facebook page.

Marden Autumn 1

Marden Autumn 2

I am feeling a lot better and fingers crossed this will continue, I am in a lot less pain and generally have more energy so I am hoping to be going on some lovely walks myself soon.

I also had a great night out with the Wool and Wine girls last night at the annual village quiz where we came a respectable fourth from the bottom. Next week is the last week before half term and I only have one Saturday left to teach so that will mean more time for crafting!

Hope you are having a nice weekend and have a good week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

The wonderful Lake District – part one

In June Ellie and I went camping to the Lake District, partly so that we could visit another few National Trust houses. The Lake District is a very important place for the National Trust, not only due to the amount of land it looks after there but also as it is a key part of its history.

Canon Rawnsley, one of the founding members lived there and worked to enhance education and employment opportunities and one of the key contributors to protecting the land was the children’s author Beatrix Potter who lived there and bought land which she donated to the Trust.

We have visited a small bit of the Lake District before on whilst on holidays to Centre Parks but never actually been to the area for any length of time which is very remiss of us as it is only 1 1/2 hours from here and is the most glorious place.

Lake District - camping 1

We stayed at Low Wray campsite which is owned by the Trust and is literally on the shores of Lake Windemere and right next to one of the properties we visited, Wray Castle. This is the view from the edge of the site. What an amazing place to stay and so cheap, 3 nights there only cost Β£54 which was a real bargain.It is a beautiful campsite with an outdoor pizza place and boat hire so if you are looking for a place to stay I would really recommend it.

Lake District - camping 2

Lake District - camping 3

We were camped just behind this ridge on the right of the picture above, they also have tepees and camping pods for hire if you don’t have a tent.

In total we visited four Trust properties which I will post about later and a Trust owned pubΒ , The Sticklebarn in the amazing Langdales.

Lake district - pub 2

Lake district - pub 1

Lake district - pub 3

We also visited Grasmere and Derwentwater Lakes and the little town of Cockermouth which was also very beautiful. Just the drives were amazing in themselves, the scenery is truly breathtaking.

Lake district - Cannon's house

Lake district - Derwent 1

Lake district - Derwent 2

Lake district - Derwent 3

I definitely want to go back and spend more time there, another place for the retirement list, only another 3 years, 8 months and 17 days to go until I can do that, not that I am counting πŸ™‚

It is a wet and windy day today which is such a pity as the Jazz Festival is on this weekend in the village. I am volunteering tonight and all day tomorrow so hopefully lots of people will wrap up warm and come and visit anyway.

I am working on some more applique from the free gift at the moment so will be able to show you some of that next week. Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.